Who Can Take the FE Exam? Requirements Before Taking the Test

There are various requirements that you need to comply if you want to gain your EIT certificate. That's why, if you are planning to become an Engineer-in-Training professional, you have to know the facts on who can take the FE exam. This article is dedicated to those people who are looking for answers on whether they are eligible for the test or not.


The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is discipline specific. This means that there are different exam specifications for different engineering course. Aside from that, the requirements for who can take the test are established by each state's engineering boards.

Before taking the exam, you should first determine if it is the path that you want to pursue. If the career that you are looking forward is becoming a licensed Professional Engineer, then this is just the first step.

You should also consider the work that you want to accomplish in the future. If your career plan is to approve or seal engineering works or prepare engineering plans ans specifications then you are on the right path.

Who Can Take the FE Exam

You can take the exam at Pearson Vue testing centers. Basically, you can take the FE exam once during a two-month testing window and maximum of three times during a twelve-month period.

With that being said, I have listed below the individuals who can take the FE examination and what are their specific requirements.

Undergraduates with Engineering Degree

Most of the time, you can sit in for the FE exam on your senior year of engineering degree. At this point of time, you already covered almost all the main engineering courses that are included in the test.

Just to be specific, you can take the exam if you are an undergraduate student who is enrolled in an ABET-accredited engineering program or engineering-related science program.

I recommend that you take the exam during your final semester or even on the first months of your senior year. In this way, all the things that you have learned in school will still be fresh in your mind. But you should remember that passing the FE exam is not a requirement to graduate from your school otherwise specified by your institution.

Graduates Enrolled in Engineering Program

Graduates of non-engineering related bachelor degree can also take the FE exam if they are pursuing their engineering related Master's degree at the present time.

For example, I have a workmate who is a Biology graduate but took an environmental engineering master's degree. Since he got this master's degree, he was able to take the FE exam.

I must say that this is not the best path to take because having a solid foundation during your college years is crucial in passing the exam. But as long as you gained three years of post secondary engineering education, you are eligible.

Graduates with Engineering Experience

If you don't have at least three years of post secondary engineering education, you can still take the exam if you have at least three years of engineering work experience. I suggest that you confirm this information from your State's Engineering Board if these criteria is enough.

By the way the work is considered qualifying engineering work experience if it was gained while performing professional level engineering tasks under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer.

Graduates from Foreign Engineering Institution

Graduates from non-US engineering institution can also take the FE exam. But this differs from state to state.

By the way, in this part, I can only share my experience for the state of California because I took my exam in here last September 2016.

The first thing that I did is check the requirements. As stated on the NCEES website, it is not required to submit an application if you want to register for the FE exam in California. This means that your transcript will not be evaluated until you decide to apply for the Professional Engineer license.

Photo taken during my Engineering Internship in the Philippines

Originally, I graduated from Ateneo de Davao University which is in the southern part of the Philippines. I took Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering for five years and migrated here in US right after. Honestly, I was skeptical to take the exam because I am not sure if the curriculum of both countries are somehow related.

Nevertheless, I still took my chance. I studied for almost a year. I try to solve five problems a day when I got home from my 9 to 5 job. Even though I am busy at work, I still managed to be patient and persistent in preparing for the exam.

Photo taken during my Engineering Internship in the Philippines

One major obstacle for the exam is the units of measurement. It is because Philippines uses the metric system while in US the SI system is the main measurement. It was confusing at first but later on, I learned the to adapt in it.

Right now, I already passed my FE Civil exam and got my EIT certification. It certainly helped me in landing into government jobs especially in the Public Works Department.

Consult Your State's Engineering Board

These are just some requirements that you need to comply if you want to take the FE exam. Regardless of your current education or working status, there are specific criteria that you need to follow before you can register for the test.

Even though I already provided relative information about what you need to gain before taking the exam, you should still consult your state's engineering board to confirm the things that I have stated. This will ensure that you have the current rules and regulation that you need to follow.

Fundamentals of Engineering exam is just the initial step of becoming a licensed Professional Engineer. After you have passed the test, you still have to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination, pass the seismic & surveying test if applicable, and gain relative engineering work experience. It is still a long process so if you need help throughout your journey, don't hesitate to contact me.

If you have questions or clarifications, please let me know on the comment box below so that I can help you.

John Rico

John Rico is an Engineer-in-Training Professional that works his way up to become a Licensed Professional Engineer.

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